Transport Canada (TC) has issued a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) to Quebec’s MVT Geo-Solutions for a Remote Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) to operate  Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS). This is the second such permit issued by TC, and the first in Quebec.

The commercial mission in uncontrolled airspace is to conduct inspections of hydro-electric power lines in Alma, Quebec. MVT has partnered with U.S.-based Iris Automation, who will equip the drone (RPAS) with a ‘Detect-and-Avoid’ system (DAA, dubbed Casia).

BVLOS approval is key to the economic development of the commercial drone industry. BVLOS approval negates the need for direct radar monitoring or the deployment of ground-based observers. Industries that can benefit from such technology include mining, mapping, agriculture, infrastructure inspection, emergency response and package delivery.

“This permission further demonstrates how the Casia onboard detect-and-avoid (DAA) system is helping to advance the safety case for drone usage while simultaneously expanding the envelope of drone-related use cases,” Iris Automation CEO Jon Damush said in a statement.

“Drones offer tremendous promise in terms of safety and economics as compared to piloted [manned] aviation alternatives, but we must integrate them into the airspace safely,” said Damush, adding, “Seeing and avoiding other aircraft is paramount to that safety, and steps like this are key to unlocking the promise of drones.”

Image credit: MVT